I tend to be a homebody. I love the occasional vacation, and yes, I do complain when I've only seen the four walls of my house for weeks on end when the kids are sick. But generally speaking, I like to stay at home.
I'm also an introvert. But some things go without saying.
On Saturday when I arrived home, I walked eagerly into the front door of my house. These walls that I painted the neutral beige have seen me weep with a broken heart. They've witnessed my happiest moments. My children's yogurt handprints decorate them 90% of the time. They know me, and I know them in every little detail. Yet, as I stepped through that door, everything seemed different.
Was it because I was different? A week had gone by with activity I hadn't been a part of. The yogurt handprints were wiped off by someone else. An entirely different person leaned against them in exhausted frustration after the kids were finally in bed. The walls witnessed other people's happiness and sorrow.
I felt like a stranger.
"Hello, I'm Deanna" I wanted to say. I wanted to wrap myself back up in the familiar, but when I grabbed at it, it crumbled in my fingers.
Shy smiles from my children and chubby arms reaching for me helped. I looked down at the babies in my arms and they were bigger- older by an entire week. I felt an acute sense of loss.
Sometimes it's necessary to leave. Sometimes a break is what the doctor ordered. But then coming back home to a sparklingly clean house and happy babies who didn't entirely remember who I was felt like I was a pig that had been given a bubble jacuzzi bath and then was dumped back off at the sty that had been scrubbed down to perfection. What did I need to do?
Roll around in the mud. Feel the sticky faces kiss mine. Change the oh-my-word diapers and then scrub my hands knowing the smell won't leave for a long time. Make the bottles and prepare the food that Addison won't touch but Carter will lick both bowls clean.
I needed to put away the folded laundry that someone else graciously washed, unpack my suitcase, make some food for my husband who hates to be a bachelor even for just a week, reacquaint myself with what's in the kitchen and the new organizational system that someone else so sweetly arranged for me.
And then when the unfamiliar house had that slightly mussed look that is sadly my housekeeping signature, something called to me back in the bedroom.
My bed and my pillow. It looked like my husband had slept in the middle of the bed with all the sheets and covers knotted together with my pillow tossed over the side. Miss me much?
As I lay down on the mattress, something finally felt familiar. I curled up and felt myself drift off after a long night of flying and knew that I was home.
My last thought before sleep was that I didn't want to leave again for a long, long time.